There are still no sincere, productive Lubicon land negotiations. The province "withdrew" the Grimshaw "offer" in 1995 claiming falsely that it was based on numbers and that the numbers had changed but saying that they'd transfer land back to the federal government to create a Lubicon reserve for the number of Lubicons the province is satisfied are entitled to be counted for purposes of determining reserve land size. Transferring land back to the Federal government for purposes of dealing with the issue of outstanding Indian land rights is something the province is obligated to do anyway under the 1930 Land Transfer Agreement, and has always said it would do, but the province has no legal or historical right to certify Lubicon membership -- something which would effectively constitute a veto over the federal government's exclusive constitutional responsibility for dealing with Indians and Indian land rights.
Prior to Grimshaw the province dreamed up historically unique criteria to argue that, as far as the province is concerned, there are "seven or less" Lubicons with land rights. This provincial government position on Lubicon membership would effectively disenfranchise the majority of the Lubicons and blocked productive negotiation of Lubicon land rights between the Federal government and the Lubicons until Grimshaw. Getting around the dispute over Lubicon membership without the province having to admit that it had no right to certify Lubicon membership is the reason Getty proposed Grimshaw. (Since provincial "withdrawal" of the Grimshaw Accord, a drunken Reddekopp has bragged that "there won't be any Lubicons left when (he's) through with them".)
Needless to say if the province is allowed to renege on Grimshaw it would effectively move progress toward settlement of Lubicon land rights back to before Grimshaw, if not to before Fulton who proposed to use C-31 as the policy of the day to determine membership -- and would effectively render settlement of Lubicon land rights practically inconceivable. That's of course the intent of the Klein government -- to undo the Grimshaw Accord which those who preceded Getty and have since regained control of the provincial government never liked -- and to effectively render settlement of Lubicon land rights practically inconceivable.
Although the Lubicon position on reserve land has consistently remained Grimshaw, a reserve land proposal to the province was cooked-up at the negotiating table in June of 1996 which provided for 55.4 square miles under the land transfer agreement (which works out to reserve land for 277 people under the Treaty 8 formula -- providing insight into the number the province is likely prepared to agree are entitled), and up to another 40 square miles outside of the land transfer agreement which would effectively be requested from the province as a gift -- something which would of course give the province considerably enhanced leverage with regard to the issue of sub-surface rights and be inconceivable anyway unless the province changes its malevolent ways and current position on certifying Lubicon membership. This proposal was predictably rejected by Lubicon leadership as both unworkable and inconsistent with Grimshaw.
The Federal government tabled the latest version of the "take-it-or-leave-it" offer based on normal government programs and services for government certified Lubicon membership in July of 1996, saying that they'd deal later, in promised "phase II" negotiations, with Lubicon settlement proposals which can't be covered under Millican's current (normal government programs and services) mandate. As with the so-called "take-it-or-leave-it" offer tabled in 1989 and again in 1992, things not covered under Millican's current mandate include essential economic development, a vocational training center, a community recreation centre, self-government and financial compensation.
In December of 1996, foreshadowing an up-coming federal election ala the Dene Metis Agreement-In-Principle in the fall of 1988, negotiators tried three times to get the Lubicons to sign agreements-in-principle (AIP) based on normal government programs and services for government certified membership but including an "undertaking" that the feds would negotiate missing Lubicon settlement items like economic development and self-government later -- in promised "good faith" phase II negotiations. The Lubicons predictably refused to sign these agreements-in-principle as substantively no different than the "take-it-or-leave-it" offer rejected in 1989 and again in 1992.
Chief Bernard Ominayak had consciously decided to give negotiators broad latitude to come up with a way to meet known Lubicon objectives. Basically he let them go until they started pressing the Lubicons to approve documents which didn't reflect the Lubicon position on settlement issues and to sign related AIPs at which point he concluded that giving the negotiators carte blanche to come up with ways to meet Lubicon objectives wasn't working.
Bernard Ominayak therefore effectively suspended negotiations and asked the Lubicon political advisers to up-date the numbers on Lubicon settlement proposals, which was done with the assistance of the same independent cost assessors involved earlier. With Lubicon consent, Toronto-based lawyer Owen Young was involved to reconsider legal clauses in the 1990 draft Lubicon settlement agreement prepared with legal advice from former Lubicon lawyer James O'Reilly which has since been questioned, rightly as it turns out. Lubicon Chief and Council reviewed and revised this up-dated draft Lubicon settlement agreement word-by-word three times before approving it.
Harold Cardinal resigned as Lubicon negotiator in March of 1997 citing personal reasons. Millican reacted to effective suspension of negotiations by publicly blaming Lubicon adviser Fred Lennarson for lack of negotiations and telling one reporter that the problem is that "The Lubicon Cree will not talk to the (oil and forestry) industries who have the money and the ability to set up education and offer them life's work. In the meantime the Liberals were re-elected and a woman named Jane Stewart was appointed to replace Ron Irwin as Indian Affairs Minister. Like Mr. Irwin, Ms. Stewart is known to be a devoted follower of Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Last July Minister Stewart announced a cross-country tour to meet Indian leaders and discuss problems facing aboriginal people. Bernard Ominayak asked to meet with her when she was visiting Edmonton to discuss putting Lubicon negotiations back on track. People in Stewart's office responded by saying she was too busy to meet the chief when she was visiting Edmonton but that she'd be pleased to meet with him at some future date in Ottawa. Her officials said the chief should "key up" the Ottawa meeting with Harold Millican -- whose problematic behaviour is of course one of the things Bernard Ominayak wanted to discuss with the new Minister.
When Minister Stewart visited Edmonton she told reporters that settlement of Lubicon land rights is a government priority and she urged the Lubicons to appoint a new negotiator, someone they trust as much as she trusts Mr. Millican, so that negotiations can resume. Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak responded by writing Minister Stewart a letter telling her that lack of a Lubicon negotiator is not the problem. Minister Stewart responded to the chief's letter by having her staff phone and propose a telephone conference call with him, to discuss Lubicon proposals for putting Lubicon land negotiations back on track. He agreed but the Minister didn't call at the appointed time. People in her office later explained that she'd been called into an emergency Cabinet meeting and suggested another date and time for the proposed telephone conference call. A new time and date was agreed but the Minister didn't call again.
Bernard Ominayak and Minister Stewart finally talked by phone last October 1st and the Minister agreed to appoint Brad Morse to talk to Owen Young about Lubicon proposals for putting Lubicon land negotiations back on track. Basically Lubicon proposals for putting negotiations back on track are the same as agreed between the Lubicons and Mr. Irwin in February of 1994; namely, that the governments of Canada and Alberta agree to honour agreements already made and to use Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating Lubicon land rights -- as distinct from effectively limiting talks to what's possible under normal government programs and services.
Brad Morse was Minister Irwin's Executive Assistant and heavily involved in Millican's appointment as well as the February 1994 agreement on a mutually acceptable basis for negotiations which was subsequently broken by Mr. Irwin, re-negotiated by Mr. Irwin's staff and then ignored by Mr. Millican. (Mr. Irwin is now an advisor to Prime Minister Chretien working in the Prime Minister's office with responsibility for, among other things, orienting and advising the new Indian Affairs Minister Jane Stewart on things like appointment of Mr. Morse.)
Brad Morse phoned Owen Young on October 10th. In and of itself this ten day hiatus between notification of Mr. Morse's appointment and the time he first makes contact may be frustrating but seems innocuous. Viewed from the standpoint of representing a clear pattern over time which has been going on consistently ever since, however, it constitutes a transparent tactic for buying time while Lubicon people die and efforts to tear Lubicon society asunder continue.
Instead of talking with Owen Young about Lubicon proposals for putting Lubicon land negotiations back on track, as agreed by the Minister and Bernard Ominayak, Mr. Morse insisted on conducting an inquiry into what went wrong with the Cardinal/Millican round of negotiations. He proposed to talk to everyone who'd been involved including Lubicon lawyers, negotiators and other advisors.
The Lubicons declined to participate in the "fact finding mission" proposed by Mr. Morse, both because it didn't make sense to have Mr. Irwin's ex-Executive Assistant conduct an inquiry into whether he, Mr. Irwin and the negotiator they'd appointed had bollixed the negotiations, but also because such an inquiry would do nothing to advance settlement of Lubicon land rights. Everybody knows how such inquiries are used in the British colonial system to buy time and diffuse political heat in the hope and expectation that the problem supposedly being examined will die or go away.
Mr. Morse refused to take no for an answer from Owen Young, telling Owen Young that he's considered a bleeding heart liberal in Ottawa, and that if the Lubicons won't talk to him people in Ottawa will simply conclude that the Lubicons won't talk to anybody and will write the Lubicons off as impossible. On instructions from the Lubicons Owen Young pointed out to Mr. Morse that the Lubicons aren't refusing to talk to Mr. Morse but only insisting on talking about what the Chief and the Minister agreed on October 1st.
Mr. Morse then took the position that if the Lubicons won't talk to him he'll have to report to the Minister that the Federal and and the Provincial governments are willing to talk but not the Lubicons -- that the Lubicons are the problem preventing settlement because they refuse to talk to him. On instructions from the Lubicons Owen Young again pointed out to Mr. Morse that the Lubicons aren't refusing to talk to Mr. Morse but only insisting on talking about what the Chief and the Minister agreed on October 1st.
Mr. Morse then insisted on talking directly to the Lubicon Chief saying that he couldn't understand what had gone wrong with negotiations since the last time he talked to Bernard Ominayak things were going swimmingly. The Chief has no idea what earlier discussion Mr. Morse is talking about but agreed to meet with Mr. Morse on December 11th to personally reiterate the Lubicon position on the proposed inquiry and putting Lubicon negotiations back on track.
The day before the scheduled December 11th meeting Bernard Ominayak received a faxed letter from the Minister, dated a month earlier, claiming falsely that she and Bernard Ominayak had agreed to the Morse "fact finding exercise" when they spoke on October 1st. During the meeting the next day, however, Mr. Morse denied that either he or the Minister had ever called him "a fact finder". He said firmly "Those are not my words or the Minister's".
During the December 11th meeting Mr. Morse also denied that Mr. Millican's mandate had been limited to normal government programs and services, begging the question of who limited Mr. Millican's mandate if not the government that appointed him -- especially since Mr. Millican personally knows very little about normal departmental programs and services and the package tabled with the Lubicons is known to have been developed by Departmental officials working in the Alberta Regional Office of Indian Affairs.
During the December 11th meeting Mr. Morse said he'd be reporting to Minister Stewart the following Wednesday -- December 17th. He said "She may say fine and make decisions to proceed now or ask me to make further inquiries".
Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak mentioned the December 17th meeting between Mr. Morse and the Minister in his follow-up letter to the Minister. On December 17th Mr. Morse angrily denied to Owen Young that he ever said he'd be meeting with the Minister on the 17th. He said "That's a lie". Mr. Morse did not indicate why he thought the Lubicons would make up such a thing. It can only be guessed that Mr. Morse was criticized for putting the Minister on the spot to make a decision.
Lying about something he said which comes back to haunt him is something Mr. Morse has been seen doing before. He did basically the same thing in February of 1994 when he proposed an inquiry into civil service misdeeds with regard to the Laboucan family initiative. His proposal was recorded in a memo which was shared with Mr. Irwin. Mr. Irwin blew-up denying that he ever proposed to call such an inquiry. There's no doubt that Mr. Morse denied to an angry Mr. Irwin that he'd made that proposal.
Notably later in another context Mr. Morse casually mentioned in passing to Lubicon lawyer Owen Young that he and the Minister had indeed met on December 16th to discuss the December 11th meeting. Although the discussion had moved on by that point it was already clear that the Minister had not decided to simply accept Lubicon proposals for putting Lubicon land negotiations back on track.
Pursuant to the December 11th meeting Mr. Morse agreed to meet with Lubicon lawyer Owen Young to review and clarify Lubicon settlement proposals. That meeting took place on December 23rd. Questions arising out of the December 23rd meeting were to be answered prior to Mr. Morse reporting to the Minister on February 4th. Predictably more games followed. On February 12th Lubicon lawyer Owen Young learned from Mr. Morse that Mr. Morse didn't meet with the Minister on February 4th. Instead Mr. Morse said he met with officials of Indian Affairs, Justice and Finance to discuss Lubicon settlement proposals -- proposals which have in fact been endlessly reviewed and assessed by successive hordes of federal lawyers and officials going back to the Fulton Inquiry in 1985. Mr. Morse told Lubicon lawyer Owen Young that he then "hoped to be through his departmental meetings in time to meet with the Minister either (the week of February 16 or February 22nd)".
Notice how days of delay become weeks of delay which in turn lead to now 7 months of delay. Delay, someone once said, is the deadliest form of denial. That may not be true in all cases but it's certainly true in the Lubicon case -- as both levels of Canadian government know and count on.
On February 26th Mr. Morse told Owen Young that the departmental meetings scheduled for the end of the week of February 12th had been cancelled and didn't occur until February 20th. Mr. Morse told Owen Young that officials from both Indian Affairs and the Department of Justice are continuing to assess the draft Lubicon settlement proposal. Mr. Morse told Owen Young that it was clear that "the substantive work on much of the Lubicon position had simply never been done".
That's baloney. There's not a single aspect of the Lubicon situation and proposals which hasn't been thoroughly and repeatedly reviewed, assessed and continually up-dated both legally and technically going back to at least the Fulton Inquiry in 1985.
Senior Justice Department lawyer Ivan Whitehall has been on the Lubicon file and generating relevant legal opinions going back to at least the retroactive caveat legislation in 1975 -- when the federal government first demonstrated their peculiar definition of fiduciary responsibility by filing a submission in support of provincial refusal to file the Lubicon caveat.
In 1981 all of the relevant legal settlement issues were explicitly canvassed with another senior Justice Department lawyer named Hobson as part of an exercise to determine whether the federal government in their capacity as fiduciary would finance legal action to obtain judicial rulings on legal points in dispute. Predictably the federal government decided against funding such legal action expressly refusing to fund legal action to challenge their legal opinions on legal points in dispute.
Justice Department lawyers have since been intimately involved with half-a-dozen Lubicon legal actions, including one initiated by the federal government themselves in 1987 when they asked the courts to impose a settlement based on the federal government's current legal position on Lubicon land rights, and more recently as a named party in the Billy Joe injunction application which tried to enjoin Lubicon negotiations based essentially on the province's highly contentious legal/political/constitutional position on aboriginal land rights.
Needless to say all of these legal actions and maneuvers require the federal government to have continually up-dated legal opinions on the evolving Lubicon situation.
In addition Justice Department lawyers have been intimately involved in Lubicon settlement negotiations going back to the Fulton Inquiry in 1985 when Mr. Whitehall provided Mr. Fulton with legal advice on both Lubicon land rights and on Lubicon settlement proposals. Mr. Whitehall was then a fully participating member of the federal negotiating team in 1988/89 and 1992 and provided all kinds of legal opinions on relevant issues including opinions on whether the Lubicons had aboriginal rights or only an outstanding treaty land entitlement, on membership, on financial compensation, on self-government and on arbitration of issues that couldn't be resolved through negotiations.
During the 1995/96 round of negotiations a Justice Department lawyer named Hilchie was a member of the federal negotiating team and was actively involved in discussing and drafting various related legal documents -- none of which is conceivable without continually up-dated legal opinions on relevant issues.
Similarly squads of departmental technical people provided Mr. Fulton with technical assessments of Lubicon settlement proposals in 1985; they assessed and actually negotiated Lubicon settlement proposals during negotiations in 1988/89; they purposefully distorted and misrepresented Lubicon settlement proposals in 1989; they assessed and deliberately obfuscated Lubicon settlement proposals in 1992 and they then assessed and selectively deferred Lubicon settlement proposals to "phase II" negotiations in 1995/96. All of this frustratingly deceitful, deceptive, manipulative and non-productive behaviour is nonetheless inconceivable without a through technical knowledge of Lubicon settlement proposals . Lastly, at the suggestion of federal negotiators, mutually agreed independent cost assessors were involved to independently check Lubicon numbers both in 1992 and again in 1995/96. Both times agents of the federal government actively tried to manipulate the outcome of the independent cost assessor exercise, and they ignored the results they didn't like, but there's no question that they've checked and never tried to challenge the technical conclusions of the independent cost assessors' work. (The same mutually agreed independent cost assessors also participated in up-dating the Lubicon settlement proposals.)
On February 26th Mr. Morse advised Lubicon lawyer Owen Young that he expects government officials to complete their assessment by the end of March or early April. In light of the time these officials are taking, Mr. Morse said, he proposed to go the Minister twice -- first by mid-March on the question of resuming negotiations or not and the possible appointment of a new federal negotiator; then again by early April after Justice and Indian Affairs have finished their assessments to get a decision on "mandate issues". All dates, Mr. Morse advised, are of course tentative.
On March 12th Mr. Morse told Owen Young that the Minister would be phoning Bernard Ominayak "probably Monday or Tuesday of next week" to talk with him directly. No details were provided but Mr. Morse did say that Bernard Ominayak will be pleased with what Stewart has to say. The minister did not call.
It is to be expected that when the Minister does call she will simply provide a Ministerial version of the things Mr. Morse has been saying to Owen Young; namely, that federal lawyers and technicians are assessing Lubicon proposals and that she expects to be able to return to the negotiating table possibly as early as April. It is alos to be expected that she will pretend to consult on appointment of Brad Morse as the new federal negotiator. That's the way these jokers buy time, a little seemingly reasonable bit at a time but the results over time are deadly for the Lubicons.
The Lubicons have thus been seeking unsuccessfully to put Lubicon land negotiations back on track since last August when they officially asked the new Minister if the federal government are prepared to honour agreements already made and to use Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating Lubicon land rights. The Lubicons have put these same questions repeatedly since last August but instead of answers they get proposals to conduct an inquiry into what went wrong with the last round of negotiations, assurances that Lubicon proposals are being assessed, efforts to discuss consultation on appointment of a possible new negotiator (likely Mr. Morse), suggestions that the Minister is considering the possibility of resuming negotiations (which the Lubicons aren't in principle prepared to do without agreement on a mutually acceptable basis for negotiations), and, most recently, tantalizing tidbits from Mr. Morse suggesting that the feds are looking for ways to obtain the necessary legal opinions, the necessary political mandate and the necessary money to fund Lubicon settlement proposals without the necessity of further input from the Lubicons.
More likely these tantalizing enticements will be used to try and lure the Lubicons back to the negotiating table without any awkward federal commitment to honour past agreements or to use Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating a settlement of Lubicon land rights. The intent will likely be to again tie the Lubicons up around the negotiating table so they can't be doing anything embarrassing, other than of course dying, while both levels of Canadian government continue working to tear apart what remains of Lubicon society.
That's certainly what history suggests the Federal government is about -- not, as Mr. Morse has been implying to Owen Young recently, that the governemt is putting together a settlement package based on Lubicon settlement proposals. In 1988 the Federal government proposed to see what could be covered by normal government programs and services, to identify gaps and to then seek special appropriations to meet those gaps. While the Lubicons agreed to proceed in this way in 1988 it's not likely that they would have agreed even then to negotiate a settlement of Lubicon land rights based solely on what could be covered by obviously inadequate normal government programs and services.
After looking at what could be covered by normal government programs and services, in January of 1989 the Federal negotiators tabled their "take-it-or-leave-it" offer based solely on normal government programs and services. Negotiations predictably broke.
In 1991 then federal Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon, reportedly under pressure from Daishowa who told him he couldn't credibly claim to have the Lubicon situation under control when the federal government and the Lubicons weren't even talking, asked for a meeting with the chief. Shortly before the scheduled meeting Mr. Siddon met with the editorial board of the Edmonton Journal, falsely told the editorial board that Bernard Ominayak had requested the meeting, and told the editorial board that he'd agreed to the meeting but that the "take-it-or-leave-it" offer stood and wouldn't be changed.
During the subsequent meeting with Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak Mr. Siddon pressed for resumption of negotiations. Informed of what Mr. Siddon had told the editorial board, Bernard Ominayak gave Mr. Siddon a copy of draft Lubicon settlement proposals and asked for a reaction. Bernard Ominayak told Mr. Siddon that there was nothing to talk about if the Federal government wouldn't reconsider the unacceptable "take-it-or-leave-it" offer or seriously entertain Lubicon settlement proposals.
Mr. Siddon referred draft Lubicon settlement proposals to the negotiating table where federal negotiators proposed to hire mutually agreed independent cost assessors supposedly to check Lubicon numbers, surreptitiously tried to limit the mandate of the independent cost assessors to what could be covered under normal government programs and services, ignored independent cost assessor conclusions when they failed to limit the mandate and then effectively re-tabled the "take-it-or-leave-it" offer artfully manipulating the numbers to make them look bigger by doing things like adding the cost of reserve land supposedly being "contributed" by the province and comparing 1989 numbers to 1992 numbers without taking into account the impact of inflation.
Negotiations consequently broke again in 1992 for exactly the same reasons as in 1989; namely, no provision for the Lubicons to once again become socially and economically self-sufficient.
In February of 1994 Mr. Irwin asked Bernard Ominayak what the Lubicons would propose as the basis for resuming negotiations. Bernard Ominayak said he would propose that both levels of Canadian government honour agreements already made and that Lubicon settlement proposals be used as the basis for negotiating a settlement of Lubicon land rights. Mr. Irwin said he considered Bernard Ominayak's proposals reasonable and asked him for a letter spelling out the Lubicon position and listing agreements already made. Mr. Irwin said he'd respond in a couple of days after receiving the requested letter from the chief. Bernard Ominayak provided the requested letter a couple of days later. Mr. Irwin did not respond to this letter, however, until the following July when he sent the chief a letter proposing instead to negotiate an outstanding treaty land entitlement and to direct Lubicon settlement proposals "to the appropriate processes and officials...for consideration within existing authorities and associated funding".
The Lubicons predictably refused to proceed on the basis of an approach which would have ceded their unceded aboriginal land rights before talks even started and to again limit talks to what could be covered under demonstrably inadequate normal government programs and services.
After considerable criticism that the new Liberal government was behaving exactly the same way as the Conservatives they'd criticized while in opposition, Mr. Irwin's staff contacted the Lubicons in September of 1994 and asked for another letter from Bernard Ominayak saying "this time the Minister (Irwin) will agree" to Lubicon proposals on a basis for negotiations.
The wording of the new letter requested by the Minister's office was vetted with people in his office and agreed in advance. In his carefully written response to the jointly prepared and agreed letter from Bernard Ominayak, however, Mr. Irwin did not agree to honour past agreements and use Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating Lubicon land rights. He only agreed to proceed on a without prejudice basis using Bernard's letter "as an important point of reference".
Knowing full well that Mr. Irwin was not even honouring his agreement to agree with the terms of the letter which had been requested by and vetted in advance with his staff, the Lubicons nonetheless decided to again proceed with negotiations to see what was possible. What subsequently happened with the resulting negotiations is also now part of this shameful history.
The two main issues thus remain whether the governments of Alberta and Canada are prepared to honour past agreements, without which a settlement of Lubicon land rights is practically inconceivable, and whether the federal government is prepared to use Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating a settlement of Lubicon land rights rather than insisting, however they try to disguise their position, on limiting discussions to normal government programs and services -- in which case settlement is also practically inconceivable.
Apparently the Federal government officials neither want to honour past agreements nor to openly admit their refusal to do so. Similarly they apparently don't want to admit that they are effectively limiting talks to what can be covered under normal government programs and services but neither are they prepared to entertain Lubicon settlement proposals which can't be covered by normal government programs and services. It's on these two basic points that hope for a settlement of Lubicon land rights hinges. If both levels of Canadian government honour past agreements, and if the Federal government is prepared to seriously entertain Lubicon settlement proposals as the basis for negotiating Lubicon land rights, settlement of Lubicon land rights is all but done. If neither level of Canadian government has the integrity to honour the agreements they make beyond the political expediency of the moment, or to seriously entertain Lubicon proposals for settling Lubicon land rights, it's hard to imagine how a settlement is ever going to be possible.
These two points are therefore are to be stressed in talking to people about the Lubicon situation. One can expect a ton of subterfuge about what was agreed, about what happened at the negotiating table and about what's possible under normal government programs and services. However that's an empirical debate which can be handled on the facts if they want to go that way.
Lastly Lubicon adviser Fred Lennarson is reminded of a discussion he had with an official of Indian Affairs going into the last federal election.
The official phoned and said "The Minister (Irwin) doesn't understand why we can't just build the reserve and argue about financial compensation later".
Fred Lennarson told the official he thought the Lubicons would consider that a very serious settlement proposal if the Minister is talking about reserve construction complete including things like economic development and vocational training.
The official said "I think we're only talking about the basic things".
Fred Lennarson asked the official if he meant water, sewer, roads, houses and a future on welfare.
The official admitted that things like economic development and a vocational training centre wouldn't be included asking "Aren't the Lubicons prepared to compromise on anything in their position?"
Fred Lennarson pointed out that the Lubicons had demonstrably compromised substantively during discussions with Fulton in 1985, during negotiations in 1988/98, during negotiations in 1992 and again during negotiations in 1995/96. Fred Lennarson said it was the government that hadn't compromised on their basic position, however disguised, of only considering things that could be covered under normal government programs and services. The official asked why the Lubicons refused to negotiate on the basis of normal government programs and services. Fred Lennarson asked the official if he could name one single aboriginal community in the entire country that's socially or economically self-sufficient based solely on normal government programs and services. The official said "You know I can't do that". Fred Lennarson told the official he'd answered his own question.